Ode to Nellie

It was announced all over today that our new Warriors regime (Lacob and Gruber) would like a fresh start this training camp without Don Nelson holding the keys to their new investment. They can’t officially make moves for the team, but they made it clear to Cohan and Co. that they’d like Keith Smart at the helm to start this season. As By said, the Smart era is upon us! As much bashing as Nellie took over the last two seasons it’s hard to remember why they wanted him in the first place, but looking back he was easily my favorite Warriors coach of my lifetime, and for that I thank him for bringing me some joy in the postseason which is more than I can say about any of the other coaches they had.

Growing up people always wondered why I liked the Warriors. It was hard to justify, but in the late 80’s Nellie made me a huge fan throwing together the Run TMC package of Mullin, Hardaway, and Richmond. Sarunas Marcuilloneus is still my favorite international player of all time. From that moment on, I was going to be a Warriors fan for life, and going to their games every time I went to visit Grandma and Grandpa probably added to it as well. He retooled the dubs with Spreewell and Chris Webber after the Run TMC days were over. Nellie’s teams made the playoffs in four out of his seven years as the Warriors coach. Little did I know then that they wouldn’t make the playoffs for a loooong time after he left, because the beginning of the Cohan Era started in 1995.

His second stint with the Warriors was highlighted by his inability to get along with players, and that shouldn’t have come to a surprise to the fans, since he was behind selling Chris Webber away for a poo poo platter after just getting ROY honors. Alas, he did give us a magical season in 2007. It was probably one of the most exciting teams to watch in the league, unless you’re a big fan of defense for some reason. The year after they won the most games of anyone to miss the playoffs, so he still hadn’t lost the team yet, but that offseason he broke everyone up starting with Baron. Even in this day in age where we only remember what was said last, I still love the guy, even though he was the main catalyst behind breaking up two good teams. He gave me the best basketball for my team during my lifetime, and I’m grateful for that  no matter whatever other stuff happened. I wish him the best, and hope that the Smart Era isn’t like the Montgomery, Carlesimo, Musselman, and St. Jean Eras. It can’t be worse than them, and it looks like our new owners actually want to acquire talent that fits together. I’m cracking a Bud Light right now just for you Nellie!

About chappy81

I'm a dude that just hit 30 years old. Pretty much like everything that is funny, insightful, and has to do with the Warriors, A's, and Raiders. View all posts by chappy81

11 responses to “Ode to Nellie

  • Chris Humpherys

    Tough call here, man, and thanks for sharing your take.

    Nellie’s one of the guys who has clearly forgotten more about basketball than we’ll ever know. I’d say he’s earned the right to at least give things another year. Maybe bring along another coach as he did Avery, then hand things off to the next generation, maybe stay along as assistant or GM or something like that.

    The Warriors ain’t winning anything this year but with Curry, Lee and the eventual retirement of Jackson and Kobe, the West could be up for grabs. So why not Golden State?

    Either way, there’s nobody hating on Nellie. He’s a tribute to the NBA. Let’s just hope Golden State knows what they’re doing.

    • chappy81

      Haha, I think all those beers made him forget stuff, like leaving guys out there for 48 minutes a game (Spreewell and Monta), or leaving guys on the bench for no real reason (every rookie). The good think about hiring Keith Smart is he’s been sitting on the Warriors sideline for the past seven years, so he deserves a shot. I’m sure he’s learned all he can from Nellie’s last few brain cells these last four years. I’m optimistic as always. I like what they are doing so far in the makeover, we’ll see how it pans out!

    • mceezy

      Yeah, Nellie has been bringing along Keith Smart just like he did Avery Johnson, so Smart’s been in line for the job for years now. Let’s hope he’s as successful as Avery was!

  • Slamdunk

    Yeah, I appreciated those Warrior teams of old. Maybe highlight videos will help pass the time until they can make some runs again.

  • World Wide News Flash

    Ode to Nellie « Doin Work…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  • By

    Good article Chaps! I am thankful for what Nellie’s done for us too, but it’s time for us to accept the concept of playing defense out in the Bay Area. It starts with this move.

    • Chappy81

      I agree it is time to move on. I wouldn’t have minded if they let him go last year, but his five playoff appearances he got us earned him at least last year to get his record. Let’s hope the Smart Era is a little more on the defensive side!

  • tophatal


    Do you honestly feel that Nelly was taking this team anywhere ? He’d taken them as far as he could but the young kids on this team weren’t always prepared to listen . Not only that but this team couldn’t play defense when it was demanded ……… as has been the case covering the other teams where he’s coached within the NBA . I mean it’s no use puttin’ up 100 pts on the scoreboard when your opponent puts up 105 . What use is that when it ends up in defeat ? It’s not teaching your players anything at all.

    tophatal 🙂

    • chappy81

      No, I never really said he was taking this current team anywhere, but was more just thanking him for the good years that he had with us. As a Warriors fan I have to lower my standards a little. Making the playoffs is all I really ask for from this franchise, and that doesn’t even happen often. Since 1980 we’ve made the playoffs five times, and Nellie was our coach for all five of those seasons. That is the reason I will always love Nellie!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: